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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4369 ratings

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Symphonic Team
5 stars 'Close to the Edge' is one of the greatest albums of all time.

It features the showpiece title track that spans the entire vinyl length of side one, a masterstroke in its day that was repeated by many prog artists and continues to be used to this day, notably Mars Volta, Dream Theater, and Spock's Beard. 'Close to the Edge' centers on the theme of getting as close as possible to enlightenment toward a cosmic consciousness and suggests in order to achieve this we must break free of the cycle of the social system that causes turmoil. This theme is based on Hesses' 'Siddhartha', a favourite of Jon Anderson's. The journey from materialism to spiritualism is captured by the use of sparse orchestral arrangements, featuring primarily Wakeman's organ phrases and the spacey guitar of Steve Howe. These minimalist feminine sections are augmented by the masculine rock sections balancing out the quieter moments. The multi-movement suite shifts metrical patterns throughout and climaxes with the huge wall of sound that is essential Yes. There is a wonderful blend of pipe organ and Moog synthesiser building to a crescendo. The sonata form structure is powerfully realised, utilising an opening theme, transition, a second theme, and a final closure. Mozart put to rock. The track is captured perfectly on live performance from 'Yessongs' and 'Symphonic'. Both pieces are masterfully executed.

'And You and I' is my favourite Yes track, after 'Starship Trooper', and it balances out the epic and the last track perfectly. It begins with the beautiful acoustic vibrations of Howe, a real beauty that meanders like a flowing stream. Then we are thrown over the waterfall as the majestic wall of keyboards bursts through like sun bursting through dark clouds. The vocals are simply awesome throughout. The next section allows the mini epic to breathe and changes a new direction that keeps the metronome working overtime with changes in time signatures. Then the last movement is the apocalypse which is a soundwave of multi-layered textures and nuances. This is absolutely incredible music and the live experience captured on 'Tsongas' DVD sends chills down my spine everytime as the gold lights hit the audience and they stand in ovation as Anderson raises his arms like some demi god.

The final track is also excellent; the hard rocking 'Siberian Khatru' that features excellent guitar riffs and that pounding Wakeman motif with chaotic punctuation.

3 tracks of utter brilliance, this is an album that stands the test of time.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |


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